Fecal transplant relieves IBS symptoms in controlled trial

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Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) therapy relieved symptoms in patients with treatment-refractory irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) compared to placebo, according to results of a randomized trial. The effects of treatment decreased after 1 year, however.

In this double-blind study, 62 patients with refractory IBS were randomly assign to receive a single-dose nasojejunal administration of donor stools (n = 43) or autologous stools (n = 19). Patients were followed for 1 year and IBS-related symptoms were recorded daily in a diary along with number of daily bowel movements, consistency of the stools, and the abdominal circumference were also recorded

After 3 months, 56% of patients who had the transplant saw an improvement in IBS symptoms and bloating compared with 26% of patients given placebo.

The treatment group also had significant improvements in level of discomfort, stool frequency, urgency, abdominal pain, flatulence, and quality of life.

A significantly higher proportion of women than man had a response (69% vs 29%).

More than 20% of patients had effects that last for more than a year after FMT; a second FMT reduced symptoms in 67% of patients who had an initial response.


Holvoet T, Joossens M, Vázquez-Castellanos JF, et al. Fecal microbiota transplantation reduces symptoms in some patients with irritable bowel syndrome with predominant abdominal bloating: short- and long-term results from a placebo-controlled randomized trial. Gastroenterology. 2020; DOI:https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.07.013